Over the weekend and then some

Belated Happy Holi everyone! From the photos around the blogosphere and on FB and whatsapp, it seems almost everyone I know had a colourful time this year. Not for us. A sunny weekend for us should usually suffice!

On Saturday I was busy slogging in the kitchen preparing this

Chicken Biryani

It’s a fairly simple recipe and gets cooked in less than 2 hours!

But that’s not what I was really slogging at. It was this

Puran Poli
Puran Poli

My first attempt at Puranpoli! It’s a classical Maharashtrian dish prepared on the auspicious occasion of Holi and Padwa. It may appear to look like a roti but it’s very sweet and very different from a normal roti or chapati. To describe it to a firang here, I would rather call it sweet tortilla! 🙂

It’s made from split yellow gram, jaggery and rava. Only 3 ingredients… sounds simple but the procedure is lengthy and hard.

In short, cook the yellow gram and drain out all the water, add jaggery to it and cook on low flame till it’s soft and dry.
Make a soft dough of rava by mixing water and oil in it and soak it in oil till it becomes soft and stretchy.
When the stuffing has cooled down, the poli is ready to be rolled out.
Grease a butter paper with enough oil so that the dough doesn’t stick to it. Take a small ball of dough and flatten it out into a small circle, place a small ball of stuffing at the centre and wrap the dough around the stuffing to make it into a ball.
Roll out the puran poli taking care that the stuffing doesn’t come out of the dough while rolling it.
Heat a non stick pan and grease it with oil.
Hold the butter paper upside down and hold the edge of the poli on the pan and peal away the butter paper. (!)
Cook it over low to medium heat and flip it once.

Phew…..do all these things just right and you might get a full whole unbroken puranpoli!

Chicken biryani and Puranpoli done on Saturday! Time to rest for the next month or so.

Yeah right!


No, on Sunday Hubby and I went to dance! Yeah you read it right.

Scotland’s national centre for dance – Dance Base – had an Open Day on Sunday to encourage new dancers to join the thrill. Bone tired we dragged ourselves to the Grass market where the centre is located and danced our feet out for a one whole hour to Elvis Presley’s c’mon everybody! After the one hour, we were drenched in sweat for the first time in Edinburgh. I experienced my heavy lethargic leaden legs turn light, supple and brisk. I had a spring in my step. Thanks to hubby dearest for pushing me off my ass and getting me on my feet quite literally. (On a negative note, don’t you just hate it when husbands come up with the most rational and practical answers/solutions to some of the most persistent long time problems you have had? Once you listen to their talk, you hit yourself mentally and wonder why you didn’t think of it!)

So after grudgingly admitting to having a great time dancing, we lingered on walking down the pubs at Grass market and that’s when we came across the armchair book shop – a quaint, cosy little place. Anyway, am not committing myself to a weekly dance class yet but yes, in an ideal world I would do it just to get my agility back. When you can’t do a 2 minute simple dance sequence you realise how dull and heavy your body is. And to think there was a time (another world, another lifetime) when over the weekend I used to dance for 3 hours and then swim for an hour!

About swimming, I can’t swim even a lap now. So much for the bragging. Anyway the brat is all nervous and turns into a cry baby when it comes to his swimming lessons. (yeah, we decided to start him early, though we think it’s late – but that’s the normal parenting anxiety). All was well for the first couple of weeks but then he suddenly developed this anxiety about swimming. Now every time we reach the centre I can the tension building on his face, the anxiety making its way up from his stomach to his face. Love, anger, threats, treats – nothing works. But I appreciate his guts to enter the pool even when he has cried copious amounts. Last week he just held the bar for the entire class duration. Today, he cried and cried and then cried some more. It started when we entered the changing rooms. His coach has been very patient with him so far, giving him time and not forcing him to do anything against his wish. But today she nudged him and pushed him and enticed him with sharks, ducks and fish toys and made him swim! (thank you God) He seemed to be okay with it. Keeping fingers crossed for the next week.


Embarrassing your kids is a totally different high! I have only just experienced it. My dad still does it and I still get upset and embarrassed. I take kiddo to a music class every Monday where they are taught instruments, notes and rhythm. At the start of the session, we all stand in a circle and dance to the routine intro song. Most of the times the steps are the same but sometimes the instructor switches them (patting your head instead of your knees etc). So this Monday, we all were standing in a nice big circle and at a point, she changed the steps. I had tuned out and kept doing the wrong step. The brat noticed this and kept nudging me. When I realised what I was doing, I kept doing it and went a step further and did a funny little step complete with facial expressions and hand movements (think Joey’s dance in Friends). The horrified expression on the brat’s face was priceless. There was disbelief and then anger. For me though it was hilarious. Nothing more pleasing than making your kid uncomfortable with a little funny stuff. 🙂 Now I know how my dad feels.

What have I been up to?

I just realised that it’s been a month and I haven’t updated my blog. The in laws are here and we have been super busy. It started with the assault on the senses – with all the Indian delicacies that they got from India. We are still enjoying Summer and the weather in last month has been amazing with many bright sunny days. Princess Street and Royal Mile is buzzing. First things first, food!

Biryani in the making…all set to be layered
Layering and adding dry fruits

We went to the Extreme Stunt show and Shantanu had a great time there with all the tractors crushing cars!




For the FIL’s birthday we went to a place called Linlithgow. It’s a 15 minute train ride away from Edinburgh.

There was some wnid but the spot was amazing. 🙂





There was a canal nearby and on this particular day there was a boat race…not any boat race, but a cardboard boat race. It was very interesting and entertaining. Groups of kids came up with artistically built cardboard boats. It was great fun to see them all toppling over each other.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival deserves a separate post altogether!

Random updates

I have lots to say but can’t pen down a proper post.

So the heatwave in UK. It felt really good a couple of weeks ago to be out without wearing kilos of overcoats! My tops and dresses were finally seeing the sunlight after a long time. Two weeks of warm sunshine and now am miserable. It’s 25° today  and it’s so completely still. I can’t see a single leaf moving. Nothing stirs, not  a single breeze. Weather warnings are issued and then there is the danger of roads closing down if the tarmac melts.


School’s out and holidays have started. Am busy planning, organising and chauffeuring my son around for play-schemes and summer classes. This is one of the things I like about living abroad. There are multiple activities for kids to enjoy and be occupied with instead of going to movies and malls. I know there are many activities even in India, but commuting here is just so easy and comfortable. It’s also a big relief to know that I can now drop off Shantanu at the classes and he will stay there and enjoy. I dreaded the first day thinking he would cry and wouldn’t stay without me but I guess improved English language has given him quite a confidence boost. Now I get pronunciation lessons from him! It’s a “khaar” now “kaarr” he tells me. And sometimes if am lucky, he even allows me to teach him a few words.


I have finally taken to housecleaning a bit more seriously. It may have something to do with husband calling it a “kabootarkhana”. But I have a feeling that a new vacuum cleaner, IKEA and shopping (even if it’s storage) may have pushed me off my butt the edge. Shantanu is delighted to know that I can use the vacuum cleaner and he almost fell of the chair when he saw me ironing. The husband, though, is still on the fence and is scared to break this streak of wilderness in me. He is afraid that if he so much as makes a comment, the spell will break and I would be a vegetable again. On a serious note, it was triggered by moth attack, and in no way was I responsible for it.


I have been reading a lot but have no time to review. Will get back to that now.


The other day we had a scary seagull incident. A couple of seagull chicks got out of their nests and we moving around in our society’s parking area. Every time someone passed them by, the mother seagull would screech and attack. After watching the scene for some time, we decided to call animal rescue. Sadly, it seems seagulls are not that important to them. They told us to be careful and carry umbrellas when going out. It would take a couple of weeks for the chicks to fly. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait that long. One the second day, we saw the chicks walking on the rooftops. There were no more screeches after that.






Shantanu had a class picnic before the holidays. We went to Kinghorn beach by train. It was a brilliant day to be outdoors and Shantanu had a lot of fun. This was the first time he put his feet inside water. I had a flashback to the days when I as a kid went to Worli Sea Face. My cousin and I used to have lots of fun in the sand, trying to make castles. The highlight of those trips to the beach wasn’t the water or the sand or even the giant wheel. It was the scooter ride. In those days my dad had a scooter and my uncle didn’t. My parents and us kids used to go on the scooter and my uncle and aunt travelled separately. So my cousin and I took turns standing at the front of the scooter. There was still always a fight and a lot of crying on the way back. 🙂





It’s been more than a month now to our Paris trip and am still missing it. Never has a city or a place affected me in such a manner. I have resolved to go there once more….sometime! I still have to write an entire post on our Disneyland trip and I don’t know where to start. Five days in Dineyland and it was still not enough. 🙂


So what’s the update on rains in Mumbai. Last I heard, it was still raining cats and dogs and the potholes are getting bigger. Mumbai does turn into Venice during monsoon.

And how have you all been?


Let me first start by saying that iPad is not a good substitute for the good old laptop. I find it really difficult to type without the actual keys. Does anyone else agree?

Now for some updates. I got my mobile phone at the lost and found office of the bus service. What a relief!

And then the chicken pox struck. Had been down with it for the last couple of weeks but much better now.

In other news the kiddo has been crying all day at school This past week. He is all enthusiastic about going to school after he comes back. But the next morning he start crying in bed itself even before opening his eyes. Hopefully things will get better on that front.

Staying in bed all day gave me enough time to read to my heart’s content and I would soon be posting some reviews. There’s one other thing on my mind but will write about that when I heave more concrete information.

I am back

I am back from our trip to India. And surprisingly I am sulking. For someone who has boasted all her life that she likes her solitude, here I am craving for people, chaos  and mess. It wasn’t like this the last time. Tsk tsk.

As for our trip, things never go as planned. We had made grand plans – people to meet, places to visit, things to eat and do, in fact narrowed them down to weeks and days as we thought this was a short trip (yea we consider 4 weeks as short). I didn’t met half the people I wanted to, couldn’t even call some of them. Hubby was better off in that I suppose.

Kiddo thoroughly enjoyed Ganpati. He woke up early morning, had a bath and went with hubby and other relatives to bring home the idol. He was all excited to recite the aartis, perform puja (in his own way) and put flowers. He was also thrilled to see that Ganpati always had his one hand up to say “Hi!” He used to come rushing to me and say that Ganpati is saying Hi to him!

The other thing he enjoyed immensely was riding in cars and auto rikshaws. Every morning after he woke up, he would go to the balcony and look out whether our cars are still there in the parking lot. Going for a ride in Honda City was almost a daily event which was often followed by a ride in the auto.

And then there were the gifts he received!!

My brother gifted this jumbo ferrari car to kiddo. Their bond is surely getting stronger. Men and cars I tell you.

The food…!!!

My mum made these delicious modaks on the occasion of Ganpati. No wonder they vanished within minutes.
FIL got this jumbo Pomfret a day before we were leaving!! Yummy doesn’t suffice!
My sis-in-law made this scrumptious cake. From scratch. Yes. Even the flowers. How beautiful is that???

Festivals and vacations

Where should I start? It has been such a happening month with lots of activities to keep me busy that I couldn’t find time to update my blog and more horror…no time to read! Now I have more books added to my climbing TBR mountain list!

So let’s start from the beginning. The book festival was fantastic. I attended a couple of events  – one was Ruth Rendell and the other was ‘Co-operative learning for 21st Century’ – the latter more specific to my job needs. I thoroughly enjoyed the Rendell event. She talked about her latest book – The St. Zita Society, read out a chapter and answered questions. I admit I have read only one book of hers – The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy but what I read I liked and when I told her that I immensely enjoyed this book, she told me, much to my shock that it was based on a true story. Go grab it, it’s one of the best. I got her latest book autographed and so excited was I to tell everyone about me attending this event that my cell phone was completely discharged in all the chatting and when the time came to take a photo of her, my phone lost all power! How dumb of me! 😦 PS: I still haven’t read the book.

There is also this Turing Festival for 3 days every year which is essentially about events organised around the digital technology. The saint and I attended one event each and took turns at babysitting our kiddo. I attended this event and it lasted for a long 3 hours. A lot of food for thought!

The other major event is that I have finally started working again! Yay!! And the best part is that I get to work from home – yup am freelancing and it is sooo gooooddd!!! This has put me on a whole new level of organizing and managing and the lazy summer days have turned into frantic chaotic mess. Even though the saint won’t agree to it, there is order in my chaos if you can manage to find it. The other day I told him that I read somewhere “A clean house is a sign of a wasted life.” when he remarked on the mess around. And pat came his reply, “A messy house is a sign of a rested wife!”

We shall be travelling this weekend to India and staying there for a whole of 4 weeks!! This trip is specially for attending the Ganpati festival. We have this system at my in laws of a rotating Ganpati (if that’s a term??!!). Every year it is held at a different uncle’s place and the saint has 7 uncles. So it is at our place after every eight years. Coincidentally this would also be the first time that I get to be a part of it. In 4 years of marriage I have somehow missed it.

Here I am submerged in a lot of work and a lot of mess. The saint is going places these days – travelling a lot for his work – travelling Europe!! He left today for Sweden and would be coming home just a day before we travel to India. We have managed to pack a lot of stuff over the weekend but there is still a lot to do – all last minute packing and checking off items off our list. And here I am seeking solace in blogging with all the mess around me.

Readers, so please send me some inspiration, enthusiasm and will to get of my butt and start cleaning and packing! And what have you all been upto these days??

Parental anxiety – should you force your child to do things?

Imagine this: I am working in the kitchen and kiddo is playing with his puzzles. I get a call on Skype from my parents and I see that they are eager and excited to talk to my son. But kiddo doesn’t rush to the laptop. Perhaps he is engrossed in his game. Or maybe he needs some time to warm up to them but for whatever reason, he won’t budge nor raise his head so that they can take a look at him. He is just not feeling it. Repeat this scenario with his other set or grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, great grandma, in short, everyone.

And I can’t help but feel it. Can he not just wave at them? or at least say a quick hello? Feeling the pressure and not wanting the situation to get any more awkward, I tell him to come and say hello, show them some random toy, tell them what you did today, just anything. But as soon as I say those words, I feel guilty for making him perform an act just to satisfy other’s desires. He has told me quite a few times that he does not want to talk and has refused to come into the room. At other times, he is over excited and eager to talk to them and cannot contain himself. But in situations like these you can’t help but feel a bit awkward, guilty for your kid’s sake and even a bit pressurised, can you? I know kids can’t be expected to make small talk and I have absolutely no idea how to change this situation without the risk of manipulating him into talking.

Another incident: A couple of weeks back, we had been to Gambado, which is a soft play centre. There we met a colleague of Saint’s and his family. His son is about the same age as kiddo. His parents kept nudging and telling the little boy to play with kiddo. Now I had never had to deal with the situation where I have to tell kiddo to share and play with others. He does it on his own. Being an only child, I find it amazing that he has the will to share his toys with others. But I know that yelling, scolding or even repeatedly telling your child to share something with another or play with someone is not going to make them do it. It has to come from instinct, compassion and generosity. In the playgroup I have seen kiddo waiting out patiently for his turn to play with a toy and after sometime when the playworker tells him nicely that another boy also wants to play with the said toy, kiddo has promptly let go of it. Kids do listen, nice and easy.

And then there are other similar issues of my misguided anxiety – whether he is eating enough, if he is cold and should I make him put just one more jacket. After all, mothers know best? You do however know that things are going to get bad if they just are. He will catch the cold if it’s meant to be and that is not because of the jacket, wet hair or being barefoot.

I know I have to let him be. All I can do is facilitate his activities or offer him a choice and not push him into doing something he is not ready to do but hell, it is hard especially when all I need him to do is just talk and respond.

I am not being paranoid today, just a bundle of nerves with all these questions. Any ideas? advice? suggestions? All welcome!

A day well spent

On turning 30

So 30..yeah.

I have never thought 30 is a big deal and I won’t let marketing and media get to me. I never had a 30 by 30 list (but then I found myself nodding my head vigorously at this list) and I am not going to the store to buy my first anti wrinkle cream.

The last five years have been pretty exciting. This is my 5th birthday after marriage and out of these 5 I have spent 4 outside India (1 in Singapore and 3 here in Edinburgh).

So 30…yeah!

I know I am supposed to feel older and mature and wise (!) But in my head I still feel about 15. Who doesn’t?

Kiddo has made the largest impact on my maturity levels, if any. After you have a child your priorities are forced to change. Quite ironically, he has brought out the child like qualities inside me yet has managed to turn me into a responsible adult. Life has literally changed after him. The fact that I can cook a decent meal says a lot about my change and those who know me well will agree. I have also in fact, developed quite a liking for eating food and trying out new dishes. The credit for this goes to the Saint and it is going to be his fault if I turn fat. Now can you see how I tend to digress to the topic of food?? 🙂

Anyway, so yeah…30!

The Saint and kiddo have baked me a cake! No help from me. They even searched for this recipe on the net and didn’t use any of mine.


No big surprises and no extraordinary celebration to mark this supposedly important landmark. I believe that is good. 🙂

Passive aggressive anger from fellow passengers

No, I am not talking about the seat acquisition game that is part and parcel of Mumbai locals – where you struggle and strategize to outwit fellow passengers to get seats on trains.

What I want to talk about is perhaps more complex. We went to York this weekend – just a day trip to one of my favourite places. Our return train was late by half an hour and we heaved a sigh of relief when we finally boarded.

After we settled down in our seats with reasonable commotion, hubby went off to visit the loo. Within the seconds the ticket collector came asking the recently boarded passengers for tickets. Now, usually, the passengers who have boarded the train at the last station immediately hand out the tickets and the TC does not ask each and everyone. In our case, hubby had the tickets and he was not there. The rest of us made no attempts to tell the TC that we need to show our tickets and he just passed us by.

Now there was this lady probably in her mid 50s who was sitting opposite me a few seats away. She had a big round face with a straight nose, sharp blue eyes that looked down on everything around, frown lines creasing her forehead, curly auburn hair cut in a nice bob and a scowl on her face which was perhaps permanent. She seemed the kind of person who was completely pissed off with life.

When she scowled at me, I thought that she thought that we don’t have tickets and hence didn’t show them to the TC. She eyed me with this haughty contempt look. There was this another lady sitting next to her who was probably her sister. She murmured something to her and the sister started laughing with little interest in the matter. Now then this lady again swept the compartment with a disdainful look and looked at me as if I was utterly unworthy to be sitting there.

This all happened before hubby returned to our seats and I gave him a quick update. The saint took one look at her and said that she is probably frustrated with her life in general and it is none of her business whether we have our tickets or not. (This is why I think men don’t understand visual cues and body language!)

To add to her frustration, we soon got out our snacks of bread and chutney, cheese, khakra, chiwda and got into a discussion. Now I am the kind of person who gets angry with such behaviour. I hate being made to feel wrong when I am obviously not wrong. In this situation however, I had no opportunity to perpetuate the anger/rudeness/contempt by talking to her as she got down at the next station.

Oh how I would have loved to fan out our tickets like a pack of cards or even better, make everyone rush to the next compartment in the false pretext of not having tickets just to irritate her further when the TC came back later.

I hate not being able to give back!